Ex Macc Town assistant boss triumphs over ‘unfair’ dismissal
EFE Sodje, sacked as assistant manager of Macclesfield Town FC after being accused of verbally abusing ground staff, has triumphed in an unfair dismissal claim.
The former footballer, who played for the club in the 1990s, was given his marching orders in March last year after he was accused of swearing at three groundsmen.
He was said to have lost his cool over the positioning of practice nets and cones before a pre-season match against Bury and was sacked with immediate effect after a disciplinary panel found him guilty of gross misconduct.
But now an Employment Tribunal has ruled that Mr Sodje, 44, was treated unfairly and unlawfully and awarded him thousands of pounds in compensation against the club.
Mr Sodje accepted he had “used the F word” when speaking to one of the groundsmen, but said he only did so after he was sworn at himself.
“The use of such language was commonplace at the club and amongst footballers generally,” he also told the tribunal, sitting in Manchester.
The young groundsman had referred to it as “just a hissy fit” and said that “he had been there before with managers, and he just got on with it.”
Describing the incident as “six of one and half a dozen of other”, he “accepted that he had sworn, and that it was not the right thing for both of them to have done.”
And Employment Judge Paul Holmes concluded that the club had “not satisfied the tribunal, on the balance of probabilities, that Mr Sodje was guilty of the conduct alleged”.
Mr Sodje was only told of the allegation in January last year, six months after
Go togofundme.com/ rehab-and-flight-homefor-our-kyle. the incident occurred, and the judge said that the decision to sack him – “whilst genuinely and honestly taken” – was unreasonable.
The former assistant manager was in no way to blame for his unfair sacking and the judge found that he had also been wrongfully dismissed, in breach of contract. The decision to dismiss him was “outside the band of reasonable responses.”
Lawyers were left to tot up the exact amount of compensation due to Mr Sodje, but the payout will include six months’ pay, a basic award of £865 for unfair dismissal and almost £3,000 for breach of contract.